Monday 19 March 2018

'It's chaos': MP murder trial listens to 999 call

Witness taxi driver Rashid Hussain leaves the Jo Cox MP murder trial
Witness taxi driver Rashid Hussain leaves the Jo Cox MP murder trial
MP Jo Cox's sister Kim Leadbeater (left), and parents Jean (second right) and Gordon Leadbeater (right) arrive at the Old Bailey in London for the trial of Thomas Mair who is accused of her murder Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Emily Pennink in London

A horrified witness dialled 999 after MP Jo Cox was brutally attacked and told the operator: "It's chaos, he's stabbed and shot people," a court has heard.

Darren Playford urged emergency services to hurry after Thomas Mair (53) allegedly shot and stabbed the 41-year-old Remain campaigner outside her surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, on June 16.

Jurors in Mr Mair's murder trial were played a recording of the call in which Mr Playford said a gunman was "shooting everyone".

A succession of eyewitnesses have told the Old Bailey how mother-of-two Mrs Cox was attacked by a knife-wielding man who warned them they had "better move back" or else be stabbed.

The man shot the Labour MP for Batley and Spen twice and then reloaded the gun to shoot her once more before calmly walking away "with not a care in the world", the court heard.

Mr Playford told how the man followed him as he fled after witnessing the attack. The plumber was talking to a 999 operator at the time and his call was played to the jury. He said: "He's shooting everyone."

Murdered Labour MP Jo Cox
Murdered Labour MP Jo Cox

The operator said: "Who's shooting everyone?"

He replied: "The gunman. Outside the library in Birstall."

He told how the man had also "stabbed a lady", adding: "He's following me at the moment. I'm just trying to get away from him. If you sent the helicopter up he's walking towards Huddersfield Road."

Mr Playford then kept talking to the operator and kept them informed about the man going behind the Vaults pub and changing his clothes. He said: "If you hurry up you'll get him. It's chaos, he's stabbed and shot people."

Mrs Cox was set upon in front of her staff and shocked residents as she arrived to hold a constituency surgery at the library.

Her assistant stepped in and hit the man with her handbag, while 78-year-old Bernard Carter-Kenny desperately tried to intervene but was stabbed too, the trial has heard.

An eyewitness described how the man "just walked away with not a care in the world".

Another witness, taxi driver Rashid Hussain, pulled up at around the same time as Mrs Cox's arrival at Birstall library in a silver Vauxhall Astra.

Mr Hussain demonstrated in the witness box how the man had stabbed Mrs Cox five or six times in front of him.

He said: "I said: 'What are you doing? What's wrong with you?' He said: 'Move back, otherwise I'm going to stab you.'

"He was standing there with two ladies and another man. He said 'better move back'. He shot twice. He moved back and shot again."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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